Case Study: MHA Communications Audit

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Michigan Health & Hospital Association

Communications Audit

Goal: Improve MHA internal and external communications through completing a thorough communications audit.

Research:

Martin Waymire examined more than 60 communications tools produced by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, such as brochures, reports, news releases, emails, talking points, and more. We coordinated three focus group sessions with public information officers, CFOs, clinicians and government relations executives from MHA-member hospitals and systems. We also surveyed 61 MHA members.  The focus groups and surveys asked a battery of questions about the timeliness, quality, quantity, usefulness, etc. of MHA’s communications. We conducted more than 10 SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) sessions with MHA staff, which asked employees about the MHA brand and the organization’s internal and external communications.

Action Plan & Communication:

From this research, several opportunities for improvement emerged. External members were unaware of the full range and scope of MHA’s available communication materials. Members were also unclear on who to contact from MHA’s communications staff with questions.

MHA staff wanted a more consistent, systematic, and streamlined process of content creation. Staff also thought the MHA brand could be more consistent throughout communication materials.

Both members and staff believed the MHA’s website could be modernized and made easier to navigate. They also thought social media, video, and infographics could be better integrated as a means of educating audiences and promoting members.

Based on this feedback, Martin Waymire drafted an extensive review document with recommendations for MHA to implement.

Evaluation:

To meet the goal of improving communications to external partners and MHA members, Martin Waymire crafted eleven recommendations for improving the consistency of messaging, communication resources, and the internal communications structure. Of the eleven recommendations made by MW, MHA implemented ten with our support, including:

  • Creation of a brand book to improve visual and design consistency
  • Designing and implementing a formal internal process for creating new communications tools
  • Improve MHA’s use of social and digital media
  • Improve MHA’s use of video and info-graphics, especially for advocacy
  • Redesign and modernize the MHA’s website
  • Create an inventory for MHA members of all the communications tools and products it sends customers
  • Hold an annual meeting/conference for member hospital communications/ marketing/community relations staffers
  • More clearly define MHA staff roles for member hospital communicators
  • Provide more support for MHA staff working in a satellite office, seven miles away from headquarters
  • Improve the rapid response of MHA communications during “breaking” news and issues
  • Increase communications support for smaller hospitals with no communications staffs

 

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